Little String Stars

String Stars, a recent finish.

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I had these little stars made for a while and at a quilt retreat last September set them into blocks using some beautiful purple Oakshott cottons. I just recently finished quilting it.

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The binding is a beautiful green Oakshott cotton.

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A search through my photos told me that I started making these stars more than three years ago! I knew it had been a while but had no idea it had been three years! That was before I had any grandchildren, and now I have TWO. Time really flies these day.

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I took advantage of a nice warm day last weekend to get some photos.

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Finished size 31’’ by 31’’.

Our spring break trip was just what I needed to get back in the swing of things at the studio. Last week I finished all the blocks for this variation of my Wind Farm quilt. The pattern for this is in my book, Every Last Piece.

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Yesterday morning I sewed them all together and I have another top to add to the “to be quilted” pile. One of these days I need to start working on all those quilt tops.

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I decided on a whim to make the pinwheels from a variety of purples. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first but now that I have it all put together I LOVE it.

Spring Break

Our spring break this year started with a quick stop in Florida to visit family and find a ton of shark teeth. We drove up to Savannah for a couple of days where we walked all over downtown and also had an afternoon kayak outing. Our last stop on our trip was in Virginia, where I grew up. We spent our time there walking around Blacksburg and then hiking out in the Pembroke area.

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The two mile hike up to the cascades was one I made many times in my childhood. I hadn’t hiked it in about 20 years.

Miss P has been getting interested in photography and took many photos of the water on the way up and at the falls.

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Here are a couple of photos from Wind Rock, another place we visited in my childhood. I remember day trip picnics on these rocks.

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Visiting this place was just what I needed.

Sewing Therapy

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Years ago, when four of my family members entering nursing homes, I decided I needed a travel sewing project for time spent in the car traveling and visiting with them. I prepared an intricate appliqué piece and had it basted and ready for any stitching time.  I stitched on that piece for months and as I neared the end of the appliqué three of those four family members died- in the same week. 

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I went on to finish the piece. I hand quilted it and entered it in a national quilt show. When I got the quilt back from the show, I folded it and put it in the closet in my sewing room. About ten years later, while cleaning that closet I pulled out the quilt. I unfolded it completely unprepared for my reaction when I saw the quilt again. I was instantly in tears. That quilt held a lot of memories and grief. Unknowingly, I had parked my feelings and emotions in the stitches of the quilt for a time when I would be better equipped to process them. It was quite a moving moment. 

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I am currently working on a series of quilts that is serving a similar purpose.  A member of my family is in an abusive relationship. After many years trying to help my family member and trying plan after plan that would never help, I finally came to the realization that people are allowed to make decisions that are not in their own best interest. I am now working on a Domestic Abuse Quilt Series to raise awareness of aspects of domestic abuse as well as a form of therapy for myself.

I’m guest blogging today on Helen Stubbings website, Hugs from Helen. Head on over and check out some of her other Stitching is My Therapy Guests. She will be hosting guest bloggers all year. Here’s a link to her Stitch Therapy site where you can get supplies for your stitch therapy.

Confusion - Domestic Abuse Quilt Series #12

Confusion - 16’’ by 16’’

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One common abuse tactic, gaslighting,  is to create in the target a sense of unreality, confusion, and a mind-set of not trusting their own perception of the situation. When the victim believes things to be one way based on their own perceptions and also believes what the abuser tells them or manipulates them to believe, the target experiences a state of holding two or more contradictory thoughts or beliefs at one time resulting in a state of anxious confusion.

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The tactic of isolation can exacerbate the confusion because at some point there is no one to help sort out the confusion except the abused and the abuser... which all works against the abused.

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Family and friends are also in a state of confusion not knowing what has happened to their relationship with the victim. They could have a very stable long term relationship and watch it crumble before their eyes. Family and friends can be accused of doing things that they never did based on things the abuser has manipulated the victim into believing. The victim can start believing they had a completely different past than the one they actually lived. This can be particularly traumatic for family and friends since it can sometimes appear out of nowhere. 

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Ten million Americans experience domestic abuse every year.  Ten million.  Someone I love and care about is a victim of abuse and has been for over twenty years.  Odds are you or someone you know is a victim as well. I have learned a lot about domestic abuse over the last two decades and the number one fact I have learned is that most incidents are never reported.  Ten million people every year and that number doesn't reflect the full scope of abuse in the US, as many people aren't able to safely share and report their stories.  I am a doer.  I like to make and fix things.  Sadly, I cannot fix things for the person in my life who is being abused.  But, I can speak up.  And I can sew.  And hopefully I can make a difference. (Statistics from the CDC)

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If you have a friend or family member who is experiencing abuse here are some things you can do to help. The most important thing to remember is that the choice to leave or not is theirs. You can't make them leave a bad situation but you can be supportive and helpful in their choice. They will need someone they can count on when/if they do decide to end or leave the abusive relationship.

Domestic Violence knows knows no boundaries when it comes to race/gender/sexuality/age/socioeconomic status/geographic location/culture.  

Remember, domestic abuse affects ten million people in the US every year.  If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please know that the folks at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1 800 799 SAFE or thehotline.org) are ready to listen and support you, as well as refer you to a local program or organization. If you observe someone being abused, you can also call the hotline.  

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All of the quilts in the Domestic Abuse series so far can be viewed here.


Published!

I’ve been featured in a couple of magazines recently and I keep forgetting to share them with you.

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I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be featured in a magazine that is written in German!

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Too bad I I can’t read what it says.

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I love that they included so many photos because everyone understands and enjoys the photos, right?

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They also included my tutorial on how to twirl seams.

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I’ve had this Quiltfolk magazine for a while as well and never written about it. The quilt on the cover was made by my grandmother and her neighbor.

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The amazing Quiltfolk team came here last summer to take photos of my sewing club kids. They were here for the afternoon and treated the kids like quilty rock stars and ended the visit with an ice cream cone treat! The article here is all about my sewing club and camps.

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They took photos at the house and barn here, then we went to the studio for phase two of the photo shoot.

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If you haven’t seen this magazine before, let me tell you, it is chock full of amazing photographs of all the things you want to see. It gives you a feeling of place and an idea of where each featured artist’s inspiration comes from. Each issue features people from a different state - issue 08 is all about Michigan.

Hey, look at that! Some of my chickens photo-bombed the magazine!

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Book Club Goes to New York

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My book club is THE BEST. Last weekend we went to New York to support a local actor in a play on Broadway.

We did a bit of sight seeing too. Our first outing was to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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I took the following photo in the Registry Room on Ellis Island. I was originally trying to get a photo of NYC through the window but love what I ended up with instead. The floor looks a bit like the water, reminiscent of the water the immigrants had to travel across to get here. And there is the city in the distance still almost in reach.

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We did a fair amount of walking around the city, tried some great food, and visited a few museums.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find the original Hundred Acre Wood stuffed animals house at the New York Public Library.

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Isn’t Piglet the cutest?

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We finished our whirlwind two day visit at the theater. This play was excellent!

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Hand Sewing Magic

A couple of weeks back Lynn Krawczyk sent me a copy of her new book, Hand Sewing Magic. Lynn begins the book with a discussion of the basics - tools, threads, and tension etc. She moves on to show utilitarian, outline, and filler, decorative, and dimensional stitches. She shows clear how to photos of each embroidery stitch as well as stitch variations or ways add your own style to them. Also included are a variety of projects featuring hand stitching.

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When it arrived in the mail, my daughter snatched it up to look through it. She found a lot of projects that looked interesting to her and started right in on a Boro Sketchbook Cover as described in the book.

My daughter says, “I like that while she provides clear instructions on accomplishing the techniques, she also leaves room for personal adventure within - and sometimes between - the projects.”

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I’m inspired by the Embellished Coat project and now want to go thrift shopping for a wool coat to embroider!

Thanks, Lynn, I know this will be a well used reference book.

(book link is affiliate link)